And its stock price reflects that. The shorts could move in.
Today, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to review Sherwin-Williams' conviction in the Santa Clara, California public nuisance class action lead paint trial.
That leaves the conviction intact. And that means that the paint company which once manufactured and marketed lead paint is wide open territory for copycat lawsuits - both throughout CA and the rest of the nation.
Those lead paint lawsuits, at the state level, could be, if won, a windfall for government. Both the plaintiff bar and defense lawyers could enjoy a rush of new business. Plaintiff law firms such as Motley Rice can be hired by the prosecution on contingency to assist with the litigation against those sophisticated lawyers from white shoe large law firms such as Jones Day.
In Bloomberg, Greg Stohr reports:
"The U.S. Supreme Court rejected appeals from Sherwin-Williams [Sherwin-Williams v. California) and Conagra Brands Inc., leaving intact a ruling that requires them to pay more than $400 million for lead-paint remediation in California."
The carnage extends beyond lead paint. Now so many other industries could be perceived as sitting ducks for public nuisance lawsuits. They include BigPharma for how it marketed opioids. A grim book about that is "Dopesick" by Beth Macy. It is 1,311 on Amazon. Here it can be ordered.
In Ohio, where the opioid epidemic can't be contained, the attorney general had already filed a public nuisance lawsuit about pharmaceutical companies. It's being settled. More states may also take that legal step.
Other industries targeted for public nuisance litigation range from energy (blamed for climate change) to firearms (the theory that guns are primary cause of violence).
It's interesting to note that business trade associations and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce had been busy bees in composing and submitting amicus briefs. They huffed and they puffed and they couldn't blow public nuisance away.
That says a lot about the power of public nuisance. Even the top court of the land rules not to intervene in a conviction against two major corporations. In addition, it bears witness to the reality that they have to change how they lobby.
Earlier, the CA appeals court upheld the conviction. And the CA Supreme Court refused to even review it.
America, despite the intense conservative movement, could be returning to the era of consumer and worker protection. That was when litigation against tobacco and asbestos thrived. At the level of the individual, Ralph Nader mobilized not only the courts but the grassroots through his Nader Raiders. New versions of Naderism can sweep the land, mobilizing Everyman and Everywoman.
To resurrect the counterculture meme: Power to the People.
Full Disclosure: I had blogged the Rhode Island lead paint public nuisance class action litigation (2005-2006). Then and now I question the effectiveness of the public relations agencies officially in the loop. Are they operating in the 20th century?
Attention is the currency of the 21st century. Jane Genova helps you get it for products, services, points of view, causes, branding, careers after-50, and college admission.
In addition, this blog welcomes sponsored content.
Free consultation firstname.lastname@example.org